Many Alabama residents will spend leisure time on the water this summer. They’ll be boating, swimming, skiing, fishing or just floating around. Most believe their biggest threat is sunburn, motion sickness, hangover, or all three.

Since the first of the year, 25 people have lost their lives on Alabama waters, killed in some 68 accidents ranging from boat crashes to collision of personal watercraft. That puts 2019 on course to rival the state’s deadliest year, 1972, when 55 Alabamians were killed in water activities.

It may be informative to attempt to parse explanations for the spike – greater numbers of people on the water, or fewer numbers of marine patrol units in high-traffic areas – but the fact remains that water safety is the responsibility of every person on the lakes and streams across out state. The same goes for area residents who spend their time on the Gulf Coast and the inland waterways of Bay and Walton counties.

Boaters, skiers, fishermen, and swimmers should follow the common-sense rules of water safety, wear life jackets, and refrain from operating water vehicles under the influence of alcohol.

Don’t forget the sunscreen.

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